I found myself at the BBC studios in Nottingham today, as a guest on the Radio Nottingham Breakfast Show, talking about Social Media and how it can have a potential impact on your job search.
It was an interesting debate with polarised views. Many people felt that what you do in your private life should remain exactly that – private. But others felt that anything posted in a public domain is fair game for potential employers to review.
If you are anything like 90% of the population, you are likely to have some form of a social media profile. This might be Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram or a multitude of others, it’s easy to forget that they all give you a digital footprint that lives long after you have clicked “update” on your status, or posted that hilarious selfie of you and your mates slightly worse for wear at 2 am!
It’s an increasingly common these days for employers to take advantage of social media, not just to attract new employees, but also to screen them before inviting them for an interview and then - in the worst cases - to rescind a job offer once it has been made.
If you are about to embark on a job search and don’t want to risk a social media faux pas, then follow these 5 top tips to help yourself land your dream job:
1) Google Yourself
It’s amazing the things that you can unearth via Google. When one of my colleagues first joined Macildowie, I discovered that during university he had MC’d at a rap battle music event. Suffice to say 7 years later, he didn’t expect that fact to be uncovered! Make sure that any articles or posts that come up are the things that you would be comfortable with potential employers being able to find. Anything unsavoury, or not reflective of the current “you”? Take it down.
2) Conduct a Social Media Audit
Go back through all of your social media profiles and conduct a thorough audit of all of your posts. It’s generally accepted that people may have unflattering photos and to be honest, I believe that these don’t really affect your chances of securing a job (assuming there is nothing illegal in them). Here at Macildowie, we often source old images of our new recruitment consultants to welcome them on their first day. To us - it shows their personality.
Anything which criticises your current employer, is inflammatory, or you just wouldn’t say in a public place or job interview - delete it. I have had one instance where a candidate had made a post on Facebook stating that they hated their job and would spend the next 12 months re-training into another profession. 6 months later, I had secured them a job offer and when the client sent them a friend request following a team meet and greet, they started scrolling back through the posts.
When they saw that he didn’t seem committed to his career long-term, they withdrew the job offer. After he had handed his notice in on his previous job.
3) Give a professional sense check to your profiles
Whilst I have said that we may expect to see unflattering pictures on your social profiles, it’s important to still take the time (for the duration of your job search at least) to have a professional looking profile picture across all channels.
It doesn’t HAVE to be the same image - you may want one in a suit for LinkedIn for example, but be sure to take down the profile picture of you on a rodeo bull from the Christmas party. If you want some help cleaning up and making the most of your online presence, we run free training workshops on LinkedIn and help you to learn how to maximise your personal brand.
I’ve also written a previous blog with some basic hints and tips to improve your LinkedIn profile if you literally have no idea of where to begin.
4) Avoid Posting at Work
Think about it. Your potential employer wants to check you out on Facebook. Your profile picture is sensible. Nothing you’ve written is going to cause offence, the team love you and you nailed the interview. Your new boss then looks at your Facebook profile and can see that you are posting updates or commenting on people’s statuses every 10 minutes during the working day. At best, they are going to think that you can multi-task, but in reality they are going to think that you are work-shy and disinterested in doing your absolute best.
Chances are, the job offer isn’t going to be coming your way!
5) Turn UP your privacy settings
This is the simplest thing to do. Turn all of your privacy settings to their highest setting. You can then choose who can see what on your profile. About to post a status update? Make sure you click on the option to only show the post to friends. Posting a selfie on Instagram of you and your mates on holiday? Make sure your profile is set to private.
It might make you seem slightly aloof, but at least you remove the risk of losing out on your Dream Job!